Mayor John Biggs today announced a number of changes to his Cabinet and a change of policy on the ‘Liveable Streets’ programme as the council sharpens its focus on Covid recovery and delivering excellent services for residents. The move is a small shake-up of political responsibilities together with a reflection on progress so far and the needs of the coming period.
Cllr Kahar Chowdhury joins the Cabinet as Cabinet Member for Highways and Public Realm. Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman is made a Deputy Mayor and remains Cabinet Member for Work and Economic Growth. Cllr Asma Islam becomes a full time Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, having previously led as part-time Cabinet Member for the Environment.
Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor since 2015, continues as a cabinet member but stands down as Deputy Mayor, and the new Statutory Deputy Mayor is Cllr Asma Begum. The majority of Cabinet will continue to be represented by women and BAME members.
Following the tragic death of Cllr John Pierce, the new Chair of our Strategic Development Committee is recommended to be Cllr Kevin Brady.
The Mayor is also announcing that the Council will re-sharpen its focus on performance and service delivery, after a period of major change, and a resulting squeeze on services driven by Government spending cuts.
Finally, the Mayor has announced that the Liveable Streets programme will be briefly paused and reviewed.
Mayor John Biggs said:
“We’ve been listening to local people and I’m making some changes as we focus on the borough recovering from the pandemic. As a council we need to ensure we bounce back strongly. Like all other councils, we have been through a decade of severe spending cuts set by Government.
“We will continue to deliver on our promises, tackling anti-social behaviour, building more council homes, investing in our neighbourhoods and cleaning up our streets and the environment.
“We will be briefly pausing and where necessary changing the Liveable Streets programme. This might mean changes to existing schemes but mostly means looking at our future plans. The programme has brought many positive and welcome changes but is not popular with some of those less directly benefiting and who face inconvenience. We will where needed change the programme to make sure we are balancing those concerns, but we remain committed to safer streets and an improved environment. More detail will follow shortly.
“It is right that we consider and reflect on our priorities from time to time, and it is important that we listen to local people, which we have done.”